Home > Gypsy Origins (All The Pretty Monsters #3)

Gypsy Origins (All The Pretty Monsters #3)
Author: Kristy Cunning

Prologue…

Then…

DAMIEN

“I’ll not sacrifice gypsies to become immortal,” Vance is saying to Arion, who is half out of his mind, eyes wide.

It’s like the gentle man of faith was ripped out of him on that altar when he put down his cross and turned over the most important thing to him.

All for Idun.

He loves her far more than I do, yet I still gave up the only important thing to me to follow her down this dark path.

Emit has been mostly stoic, and he’s barely uttered a word, since the altar six months ago. Considering his barbaric sacrifice, it’s not hard to understand his empty silence.

Vance’s sacrifice seems mild in comparison to all of ours, and now he fights to skip the second step after we’ve already lost so much.

Too much. Far too much to stop mid-gamble and leave it all in vain.

“Those gypsies cursed Idun, in case you’ve forgotten. They’ve hardly the right to be called innocent,” I say, chiming in on the matter.

I get ignored by Vance, since it doesn’t help his argument.

“One Portocale gypsy cursed her,” he says, holding up his finger.

“A single ribbon holds the responsibility of keeping her head on her shoulders,” Arion grinds out through clenched teeth, throwing his hands in the air. “One snag, and she’s dead, Vancetto. Is that the fate you want for her?”

My hands steeple in front of my face as Vance shakes his head, backing away.

“I won’t be a part of this. However, I can’t stop you from making up your own minds. I understand the weight of your sacrifices,” he says as he turns to leave.

The bugle wails in the distance, and the long horn blows right behind it. All our eyes meet, and then we scramble out of the room, Emit reacting as well.

Arion is the first atop a horse, and he rides off, as I struggle to get my reins untangled.

I’m the last one off before I hear the roar of thunder and the lightning crashing in the distance.

Their horses have been abandoned, and are roaming freely when I make it to Idun’s house. My feet are running on air until they hit the ground and gain traction.

After skidding sideways around the corner, I manage to leap onto the porch, tossing myself over the railing. The stench of blood hits me hard the second I step inside.

It’s as though sound is ripped from me for a minute, only the thundering of my heartbeat echoing back to me, as I stare in stunned horror at the sight before me.

I fall to my knees when I see Idun’s head off to the side, the green ribbon lying idly on the floor between her body and her neck, as her vacant eyes stare into mine.

Lost to shock, it takes me too long to realize it’s not just her who has been beheaded.

The entire Neopry family look as though they were just sitting down to dinner when—

“Do you smell that?!” Emit asks, as a maddened Arion shouts and flips a table.

My mind is racing in a thousand directions, trying to process exactly what I’m seeing, as a hollowness settles into the pit of my stomach and begins spreading to my chest.

A very distinguishable scent lingers in the room, even cutting through the stench of death.

Portocale blood. No one can mistake the sweet scent they all have when they bleed. Even Emit’s wolves were constantly enchanted by them.

My eyes move around the room, and in one corner, a Portocale gypsy lies face up, heart stabbed like he was fended off.

Arion falls to his knees in a slump, as he cradles Idun’s headless body, rocking her in his arms as he shouts at the heavens.

“Still find them so innocent?” I ask Vance on a snarl.

He’s staring down at Idun’s eyes, his jaw ticking. A puddle of blood beside me also smells like Portocale. And the one in front of me. And some next to it.

How many came? How many Portocales ambushed Idun and her family, while we debated their fates?

“The altar has already started. It’ll bring her back if we complete the spell,” Emit says as he turns and stalks out. “I’ve already sacrificed the most important thing,” he calls over his shoulder. “I’ll be damned if I lose her too. All for nothing.”

Arion gently puts her headless body down, wiping her blood off his face.

“They’ll pay at the darkest hour,” he promises her, as a cold washes over his eyes. “You’ll come back to us.”

Vance says nothing as he twirls his iron swords and sheathes them in their crisscrossed places on his back.

Without a word, he turns and goes. I glance around at the carnage.

Emit and Vance had turned against us. We were falling apart at the seams, and they foolishly stitched us back together.

The Portocale gypsies signed their own fate this night.

And their own sweet fucking blood sold them out.

Chapter 1

Now…

VIOLET

We’re a disease.

We’re a plague on mankind.

We’re a substitute for volatile diseases that could wipe out twice the population.

That’s what monsters are.

Some infect. Some eradicate. Some diseases fight other diseases.

And Vance is the one who keeps it all in check so that the more lethal, cruel, and ruthless monsters don’t spread out of control and destroy the world or something. Because once the box of limited immortality was opened, there was no way of putting the lid back on again.

It’s not quite the romanticized picture I painted myself in when I started my Ribbon Girl collection box and made myself a special kind of monster.

Real eye-opener.

Still, even diseases can suffer, it seems. At least when they have souls and beating or non-beating hearts.

Emit is still feverish on day five, looking pale and exhausted, while his eyes stay whited out.

I lie beside him, sponging away some of the sweat and blood that randomly appears on his body when he suffers a phantom bullet wound, or strangles until he suffocates, or any number of other ways a person can die.

Once it even seemed like he was being pressed to death. Marks have appeared all over him several times, as his screams echoed through the hallway, like in his mind he was burning to death.

“Gypsies by any name have suffered some unimaginably atrocious deaths,” I say softly to Lemon, as she joins me in the room with a fresh bowl of warm water.

“Indeed,” she says tightly.

“Why does he suffer like—”

She sneezes a few times, and I let out a harsh breath.

“Sorry about all the flowers. Damien must want me at his side when he goes down with this same affliction,” I tell her as she sneezes again. “Just because he doesn’t really want to be alone,” I add.

“It’s fine,” she says on a clogged breath before she sneezes really hard.

I toss one of the cards of apology out of my way, barely glancing over it.

“No, it’s not. He knows this is a wolf house and he sent a lot of obnoxious smelling flowers just so that I’ll go to him when this happens,” I tell her as I get up and lift a window.

The cold blows in when I start carrying vases of flowers to the window, admiring how prettily they’re arranged for a second, and...then I toss them out.

The slashes across Emit’s body have started taking up his entire torso, and he cries out harder with each passing day full of nothing but pain, trapped inside his own mind.

“I’m curious,” Leiza says as she walks in with fresh sponges, while Lemon applies the fresh batch of healing potions to Emit’s wounds.

“About?” I ask as I toss out four smaller vases, and continue to clear the room of flowers.

“About the vampires who first attacked you. You said Arion took care of it, but you never said why they attacked.”

“I never figured that much out, but vampires have certainly left me alone since then,” I say with a shrug.

“But it doesn’t bother you not to know why they randomly attacked?” Tiara asks as she comes into the room.

“I’ve had a human cult trying to eradicate my blood line for my entire life. I still don’t know exactly why they think killing me will do whatever for the Forsaken, so no. I’m not too curious about why people want me dead. I assume it’s because I got too close to too many alphas very quickly when I moved into town and they planned to use me,” I prattle on, needing the distraction to keep me from feeling as helpless as I do with Emit.

“He was going to tell me about why this curse is even a thing, but…” I let my words trail off.

Lemon takes a seat near him, but not too close.

They’ve been extra careful to let me guide this…like I get to dictate how they take care of their alpha. I’ve been left with all the really intimate things, and I don’t know if they’re doing it to push me closer to him, or if they’re doing it because they feel like they have to be respectful of a relationship that isn’t here.

They’re confusing and overcomplicated like that.

The room finally free of flowers, I decide to take a break and leave him in their very capable hands, as I go to rid the rest of the house of the imposing flowers.

Leiza follows me into a room, shutting the door behind her. I turn to face her, frowning when she starts wringing her hands.

“You’re the kind of girl who gets called a gypsy and takes pride in it,” she says…which confuses me. “Even if someone said it offensively, you wouldn’t take it personal. By the time they left you, they’d be reconsidering everything they thought they knew about the entire culture they carelessly insulted. You have excellent control over your emotions and a very intelligent way of examining life, especially for your age.”

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